Walmart serves up options for fighting hunger in southern Colorado

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Walmart is partnering with its suppliers this month to support local food banks in its fifth annual “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign.

The company is making it easy for customers to participate by purchasing items from 14 participating corporate suppliers, direct donations and social media sharing.

Walmart and Feeding America, a nonprofit whose members include 200 food banks, aim to raise enough funds this year to provide 200 million meals for the one in eight Americans who are struggling with hunger.

Last year, the campaign provided about a million meals that were distributed through Feeding America food banks, said Joanna Wise, marketing and communications director at Care and Share.

“This year, we’ve doubled our meal goal,” Wise said.

Care and Share Food Bank, along with 200 other Feeding America members, will receive the monetary equivalent of eight meals for every $1 that is raised in southern Colorado.

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, some 41 million Americans, including nearly 13 million children, will be without access to healthy and nutritious food at some point during the year.

Walmart kicked off the campaign April 2 with several new features. The company has introduced the Walmart Credit Card as a new way for customers to get involved in the campaign.

In addition, Walmart has partnered with the social networking site Nextdoor to bring community leaders and neighbors together around a communal table to discuss the local impact of hunger in selected cities.

“In communities big and small across the country, there are families struggling with hunger,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “By working together during this campaign with our suppliers, customers and friends at Feeding America, we can help secure 200 million meals that will help those who need it most.”

Now through April 30, the company is offering customers four easy ways to support the campaign:

  • Purchase a product. For every product from a participating company purchased at a Walmart store or on Walmart.com, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal on behalf of a Feeding America food bank. Eligible products are marked with a Fight Hunger. Spark Change sticker.
  • Donate directly at the register. For every dollar donated, Care & Share will receive eight meals.
  • Share on social media. Users can support the effort by sharing #FightHunger posts on Instagram or using the hashtag to share or retweet a Facebook post about the campaign. For every online act of support, Walmart will donate $10 to Feeding America, up to $1.5 million.
  • Use the Walmart Credit Card. For each Walmart Credit Card transaction at a Walmart store and on Walmart.com, Synchrony Bank will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal, up to $750,000.

“We are working with local Walmart stores to get everything ready,” Wise said.

The stores will set up aisles to stock the participating projects, and signage will make them easy for shoppers to locate.

“All donations from Walmarts in southern Colorado will go directly to Care and Share,” she said.

The campaign has nearly tripled the number of participating suppliers this year. Those suppliers include General Mills, The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay/Quaker, Bush Brothers, Clorox Sales Company, Conagra, Motts, Unilever, Maruchan, Pinnacle Foods, Post and JM Smucker.

Care and Share supplies food to hunger relief organizations in 31 southern Colorado counties, including food pantries, meal sites and emergency shelters, children’s feeding programs and supplemental food for low-income seniors.

Funds are raised through corporate sponsorships, individual donations, foundations and grants, and volunteers help to stock the organization’s warehouse with healthy food from grocery stores, farmers, restaurants, bulk food purchases, food drives and government food sources.

In the past year, Care and Share provided 19.1 million meals to people struggling with hunger and distributed 23.7 million pounds of food.

Individuals also can donate directly to Care and Share or through Walmart.